Manifesto to the European Elections and the Legislative period 2024-2029. An agenda that calls for a change in the EU disability policy for the 2024-2029 legislative period

In view of the European elections, which will take place from the 6th to the 9th of June, ENIL launched its electoral Manifesto. Stemming from an aknowledgement of the limited progress towards the implementation of UNCRPD, the document aims at proposing an agenda that calls for a change in the EU disability policy for the 2024-2029 legislative period, in line with the Independent Living movement principles.

The Manifesto is structured around 11 objectives, which signatories commit to pursue throughout the next legislation. For the achievement each objective, ENIL indicates actions to be undertaken by the European Parliament through the work of MEPs.

Objective 1 implies a commitment to guarantee the right to Independent Living through an EU Directive on Independent Living. This should require member States to close institutions and implement all the precondition for disabled people to enjoy an independent life, such as personal assistance and community-based services, in line with the UNCRPD.

To pursue these goals, Objective 3 aims at ensuring equality of treatment in employment and in accessing social protection, education, goods and services and housing. Given the persistent higher exclusion of persons with disabilities from the labour market and other services compared to other groups, a reform to the EU policy in this area would help reducing poverty rates among disabled people, as well as decreasing segregation through residential institutions and sheltered workshops. In addition to supporting access to employment, gaps in pay and treatment must also be addressed, particularly with regards to the disproportional unemployment rates of women with disabilities.

Another Objective concerns the withdrawal of the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition and Enforcement of Measures and Cooperations in Matters Relating to the Protection of Adults. The Regulation, proposed in May 2023, would create a recognition of guardianship regimes and orders to institutionalise disabled people across EU States. Given its perpetuation of restrictions of freedom for disabled people and its support to the existence of institutions, and therefore its incompatibility with UNCRPD, ENIL calls for the Regulation to be withdrawn during the next legislation, and for the adoption of an EU Directive banning institutionalisation and guardianship.

Other issues addressed in the Manifesto include the involvement of disabled people in EU politics and policy, through participation in the European elections and in policy making procedures, the use of funds for Independent Living instead of institutionalisation and segregation, the full access of disabled people to freedom of movement, through cross-border recognition of disability and access to support services, and the safeguard of persons with disabilities against sexual violence and forced sterilization.

You can download the full manifesto here.